Thursday, April 29, 2010

When frugal's not so fun anymore....

Today I'm hearing of more and more families who are living frugal because of circumstance rather than fun or planning. Yes, parts of living frugal can be fun, especially for those who are creative and who like to save a buck here to spend it there!

But- what if you've found yourself in a place where circumstances mandate frugality and well-
frugal's just not fun anymore?!
Well, some would say- go spend a little, it'll make you feel better....but you know if you do that then you are either cutting into your light bill or indebting yourself more on a credit card.... which is NOT going to make you feel better in the long run!

So- what do you do?

Well, here's some ideas that I've been pondering over for the last several weeks and I sincerely hope, that if you are one of those that has found that frugal's not so fun anymore, that you will find a little hope and encouragement in something below!

-Keep learning! I mean through free means, such as the internet or library. Keep educating yourself through blogs, books, and even talking to others. The net is a great way to meet others who are struggling and who are delighted to offer advice. But keep seeking new ways to be frugal and stretch what you have!

-Look for more ways, to make more things, from what you have on hand and from the things that are the most frugal. I always buy the most frugal sacks of plain and self-rising flour that I can find. (Most of you know that I prefer wheat, but we do eat white too from time to time and/or a mix of wheat and white.) Make your own funnel cakes, donuts, and even dog treats!

-Look at your children! Yes- look at them- go on - Now, YOU, dear mother, can make life so amusing for them that they may never know (or at least not until they are older) how tight the money is in their home. Have some frugal summer fun or an indoor picnic. Make home made play dough, sock puppets, finger paints, paper toys, airplanes, science, leaf prints, and cookies (or crackers)! (Let them 'mop' the floor!) Try to keep your children busy and happy! We can make them feel that life is normal and good. We can show them how to respond to trials and tough times- right now! (..By how we respond.)

-You be happy mom! The Bible tells us in Eph. 4:24 to "put on the new man". Mom, did you know you can "put on" a happy face? Look, just like this :-) See how easy that was! Colossians 3:14 and 15 tells us to "put on charity (love)" and also to "let the peace of God rule our hearts....and be ye thankful". If we are thankful, and allow the peace of God to rule our hearts, and we put on "love" for our children; we certainly can be happy! We may not be able to give them every thing that they want, but we can give them what they need; love and a sense of security! But we have to "put on" strength for our children, even if we don't feel so strong! It can be hard, but it can be done. (Phil 4:13)

-Stay busy! Keeping busy, finding ways to be frugal, cook from scratch, make foods in advance for a day you may need to be out, or make a homemade picnic for the yard! School work, home work, house work, kitchen work, yard work, yes busy work, little projects, baking, playing, making up stories, reading stories, coloring in old coloring books, building card houses with a deck of cards, whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might! (Eccl 9:10) When you are busy and you keep your children busy, there's not much time to think and fret. They see you busy, they see you happy, they will want to be busy and happy too!
-Be careful what you say! While I think its reasonable at times to make our needs known or even give a little testimony as to how your family makes it without keeping up with the Jones- you still have to be careful how and to whom you share with. We never want to make the providers of our home look or feel bad. Every family goes through hard times and every adult has a grandparent that made it through the depression! Right? So we'll all get by, and we'll manage what the good Lord gives us as well as we possibly can! But there are those crafty souls out there who might turn what you say into something that it is not, so, let us be wise as serpents and harmless as doves! (Matt 10:16)

-Give thanks! (1Th5:18) Yes, I know sometimes it seems strange to be thankful for what you have, when all you can think about is what you need! But, by making our minds up to be thankful for what we have, we re-route our thinking back to the One Who can supply all our needs! We also teach our children to be thankful, rather than bitter. If we allow ourselves to get bitter, won't our children see that and mimic the same pattern? It is hard- but in giving thanks- we force ourselves to focus on the wonderful blessings that we do have every day! Its so easy to let them be covered up, by despair, worry, and yes, doubt. Would you read this?:
2 Cor 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
2 Cor 9:9 (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.
2 Cor 9:10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
2 Cor 9:11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.

- Now, one final thought! (Aren't you glad!) That is- focus on the things that are eternal! It will help you! You see- there's always going to be a light bill to worry about, there's always going to be new dust every morning (does this stuff come in 20 gallon buckets!), life's always going to have some sort of stress or worry, but - children aren't children very long! And we have precious precious cargo in our hands as we shape little souls that we desperately desire God to use for Him one day. That job alone is no small task and deserves our utmost attention! I know it can get hard, but when we focus on eternity one day, rather than the water bill being due tomorrow, God can help us to be faithful to our duties, as we wait for Him to be faithful to our needs!
May God help us to run our race well!
This post is linked to Frugal Fridays/Life as Mom, It's All About the Savings, Tuesday's Tips


Lori @ Couponomic Stimulus Package said...

WOW!!! I so needed this word of encouragement right now!!! I've been on burn-out mode for a little while now and this puts the fire back. Thank you so very much!

I'd love it if you'd link this to my Tuesday's Tips at

Melissa said...

Thanks for sharing this. You're right on target.

Joy said...

Amen, and thanks so much Donna for sharing your wisdom with other mothers including me! I needed this as well, and you are so right!
If I grumble about certain circumstances, then I am teaching my children to have a grumbling spirit, instead of being content in what so ever state we find ourselves.
I think it is especially true about making our dh think they aren't providing for us as they should. I know the way I have handled myself in the past has surely made mine feel that way. How awful of me! I also know that we should never play the blame game. Being a stay at home mom has allowed me to learn more and more about being frugal as well as learning what my families "TRUE" needs are instead of wants. When we hit rocky times our needs and wants become crystal clear and I am thankful for that!
So thankful for you too, and your wisdom! I pray the Lord blesses you greatly for this!

Millie said...

Well said Donna!

Marice said...

following u from FF! Feel free to visit me here:
Life Can't Wait and Up Now and What's Next

Marilyn's Money said...

Here from Friday Follow! What a story!I'm following!

Robbie said...

I hear you. Two years ago my husband lost his job. It's been a long road, and my oldest has the last few months started realizing that her friends have lifestyles that we just don't.

So here are a few other ideas.

For activities, visit the local fairs. Go to the apple fest, the county fair, whatever. The kids love to get out and about, and its inexpensive entertainment.

If you can, make room for the small occasional splurge. We cut back to less expensive meals for a few days to afford an evening of roller skating. She still talks about it.

Visit the library. Lots of movies, books and even activities.

And lastly, to the best you can, keep your chin up. Your kids worry about you, too.

And have faith! You will get through this too.

FloyKnop said...
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joeandbridge said...

Hi! Poppin' in from Friday Follow to be your newest Follower! Have a wonderful weekend and pop by my blog if you get a chance. I love new followers! :)

Bridgette Groschen
The Groschen Goblins

Shannon said...

Wow great article. I recently quit my job ( on purpose) because I feel that right now my family is my priority and I was no good coming home stressed out with nothing to offer them. Its going to be different to be down to one income but I welcome the challenge thanks for the post!

Catie said...

Very well said! We've been on a fairly long journey to be debt free! And we were officially debt free a little less than a month ago! Hooray! This has really taught us to live frugally!!

Great tips for keeping a good perspective!

Tracey said...

Enjoyed this post and the great suggestions! Just became a follower! :)

Young Wife said...

Wonderful encouragement! I especially liked your advice about being careful who you share your stories with.

Tanya said...

Hi, Following you from FF! You can follow me here: said...

I am following you from Friday Follow.

Jeanette Huston